Frito-Lay’s ‘Near Net Zero’ Snack Factory

It’s not net zero, but it’s really, really close. So says PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North American division of its revamped snack-food factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, which was designed to minimize consumption of electricity, water and natural gas.

Running primarily on renewable energy sources and recycled water, while producing almost no landfill waste, this plant marks what marks Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability for Frito-Lay North America calls “a major milestone” for Frito-Lay and parent company PepsiCo. The facility cuts the carbon footprint of a traditional manufacturing plant of similar size by 50 percent while using 75 percent less water and 80 percent less  natural gas.

PepsiCo Frito-Lay North America, EV truck

image via Frito-Lay

These green goals were achieved using a number of strategies, including a water recovery and reuse system that combines membrane bio-reactor and low-pressure reverse osmosis technologies; five separate and distinct solar photovoltaic systems, installed throughout the property, that produce nearly 10 million kilowatt-hours of electrical power; a 60,000-pounds-per-hour biomass boiler; and an extensive waste recycling program (using food waste for cattle feed). During its implementation in 2009, the Casa Grande facility became the first food manufacturing site to achieve LEED Existing Building Gold certification.

All of this appears to be part of Frito-Lay’s overall strategy to cut its carbon footprint and green its brand, which has so far also included the addition of electric vehicles to its delivery fleets.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.